The West African countries are responsible for nearly 60% of the world’s cacao production, the main ingredient in chocolate, and it’s the region hardest hit by the ebola hemorrhagic fever epidemic.
The Ivory Coast alone is responsible for an estimated 33% of the world’s cacao production. While this region of Africa is the world’s largest supplier of cacao, as we saw in a recent video, the locals typically do not eat the farmed product themselves. Instead, they provide the labor force to harvest the cacao, which is then shipped around the world to chocolate lovers.
Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cacao, the raw ingredient in M&M’s, Butterfingers and Snickers Bars, has shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, putting a major crimp on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars and other treats just as the harvest season begins. The West African nation of about 20 million — also known as Côte D’Ivoire — has yet to experience a single case of Ebola, but the outbreak already could raise prices.
Ivory Coast, which produces about 1.6 million metric tons of cacao beans per year — roughly 33 percent of the world’s total, according to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization — closed its borders in August to Guinea and Liberia. More than 8,000 have been diagnosed with Ebola, and nearly 4,000 have died in those two countries and Sierra Leone. Next to Ivory Coast is Ghana, the world’s third-largest producer of cacao beans — 879,348 metric tons per year — or 15 percent of the world’s total.
Tim McCoy, a senior adviser for the WCF, said signs that Ivory Coast residents already are concerned were immediately obvious during his last trip to the country in September.
“Going into meetings where … you always shake hands and often times, with men and women, you do the cheek kiss thing … They weren’t doing that,” McCoy said.
The current ebola hemorrhagic fever epidemic began back in December, 2013 in Guinea. At that time 1 ton of cacao in $USD cost $2,839.45, today’s price is $3103.36, so there’s been nearly a 10% increase in recent months in chocolate due to the ebola scare, and it could instantly sky rocket if the Ivory Coast began to succumb to the heinous disease.
Your lasting message: stock up on chocolate NOW, because you never know what the future holds.
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